‘You need a teacher’

2020-04-22 14:30

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Pietermaritzburg matrics have expressed concerns over the impact the lockdown may have on their readiness for the 2020 exams.

Schools closed in mid-March to try and minimise transmissions of the Covid-19 virus.

Some matrics described their anxiety about the current period of uncertainty, as they continue to study and do their schoolwork as best they can at home.

Aphelele Shelembe, from Siyanda High School in Sweetwaters, said she was feeling the pressure.

“It’s a very stressful time. I’m worried because I’ve never done this before.

“I have never had to teach myself things like maths and physics,” Aphelele told The Witness.

She said coming from a disadvantaged school, she did not have the luxury of attending online school. “Our school is not well resourced. We are just doing what we can with the little we have.”

Aphelele said she relied on radio and TV classes during this time.

“We are not only losing a number of normal school days, but we have also lost time for holiday classes which the school had planned for us. With the radio and TV lessons, you grasp what you can.”

The Basic Education Department has partnered with the SABC to launch a multimedia learner support initiative aimed at limiting the impact of the lockdown on the school calendar.

The department said that the programme started last week and was being aired across three SABC TV channels and 13 radio stations.

It said that the series was there to provide curriculum support lessons to pupils in grades 10 to 12. Some of the subjects that are being covered include maths, physical science and accounting.

The initiative was also launched in anticipation of the mid-year exams in June.

Mandy Miles, a matriculant at M.L. Sultan Secondary School, echoed Aphelele’s comments: “I feel very anxious because we’re not getting the interaction with the teacher in class anymore.

“I feel that the interaction really helps with the work we have.”

Mandy said she was lucky they had WhatsApp study groups created by their teachers.

“We have groups for each subject. Our teachers send lots of video tutorials and we also do past question papers.

“Despite all these efforts, nothing can replace an interaction with the teacher.

“Sometimes when you don’t understand something, you need a teacher to explain it to you. If I find it something hard, I just leave it out.

“We’re really struggling, and I’m worried about my results. It feels like we’re just on our own. The future is uncertain.”

Anele Gedeza, a matriculant at Haythorne Secondary School, said the biggest challenge for him was data costs.

“I have to buy data every now and then and it gets depleted quickly. We are downloading a lot of content online.

“This month I spent about R300 on data. It’s a lot compared to what I normally use. It’s a very stressful time but we have to work with what we’re given,” he said.

Buhle Mlambo, a matriculant at Russell High School, said, “We’re so worried. We are reading a lot of things in newspapers and there’s a lot of uncertainty.”

Buhle said her biggest worry is getting good results to be able to enroll for a law degree.


The May/June matric exam rewrites have been postponed by the Department of Basic Education.

The department announced that the Amended Senior Certificate (old matric) and National Senior Certificate Examination, which were scheduled to start on May 4, would be postponed due to the national lockdown. It said it was agreed the May/June examination should be merged with the November 2020 examination. 

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